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"The songs are mostly originals written by pianist David Ake, but there are three short, but rewarding group improvisations. Meanwhile, Egberto Gismonti's "Palhaco" is covered in a gorgeous take that is perhaps the centerpiece and a highlight, and the group takes on two deconstructed Duke Ellington pieces - "African Flower" and "Heaven." There is an ECM-like flowing feel with lots of space and reverberation - especially without bass and drums - but the strong technique and sensitivity of the players keep things from floating away into the ether on the hypnotic opening title track. The intricate counter-lines and unison playing on "Keystone" give the impression that one is listening to a larger ensemble and the unusual instrumentation means this group sounds like no other. Ake shows he is a force as a composer with assured and interesting pieces like "The Dark," "Keystone," "Polar," "Time Falls (Like Snow)" and "Birthday Boy," while all of the players improvise on a high order. An impressive and enjoyable debut."

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